Graph-theoretic and mathematically rigorous algorithmic methods developed
at the University of Hertfordshire have improved the applicability of
compiler technology and parallel processing. A compiler developed in the
course of a ten-year research programme at the university has been
successfully applied to a number of commercial problems by re-purposing
the research tool. NAG Ltd has adapted the tool into a commercial product
[text removed for publication]. Numerous applications of the mathematical
methods (such as type-flow graphs used conjointly for correctness and
optimisation) have been deployed by industry (including SAP, SCCH, German
Waterways Board) working closely with the university.
As a result of collaborative commissioned research, the lead developers
of a major atmospheric research and operational weather forecasting model
have changed their approach to quality assuring model source code. Drawing
directly on the research findings, the lead developer has taken the
decision to adopt a new approach to the correction of inconsistencies and
inefficiencies in source code and to alter the software build procedure to
be followed by a large model development community. An additional impact,
in the form of improved business competiveness, is felt by a British
software and consultancy company, which has been able to enhance a key
tool used in their quality assurance and platform migration work with a
global client base.
The underpinning research was exploited to design an exceptionally
efficient Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), used in automotive Electronic
Control Units (ECUs), and its associated schedulability analysis tools.
Since 2008, the RTOS has been deployed in 50 to 55 million new ECUs each
year. The RTOS has been standardised upon (used by default in all ECUs) by
[text removed for publication]. ([text removed for publication] in terms
of world-wide automotive powertrain systems suppliers. [text removed for
publication] all rank in the top [text removed for publication] world-wide
for chassis electronics). The RTOS is used in cars produced by [text
removed for publication] as well as many others. Revenues from the RTOS
exceed [text removed for publication] per year.
Impact: Controller Area Network (CAN) is a digital communications
bus used by the automotive industry for in-vehicle networks. The
underpinning research introduced techniques that enable CAN to operate
under high loads (approx. 80% utilisation) while ensuring that all
messages meet their deadlines. The research led directly to the
development of commercial products, now called Volcano Network Architect
(VNA) and the Volcano Target Package (VTP). This Volcano technology (VNA
and VTP) is now owned by Mentor Graphics. In recent years, VNA has been
used to configure CAN communications for all Volvo production cars, with
VTP used in the majority of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) in these
vehicles, including the S40, S60, S80, V50, V70, XC60, XC70, XC90, C30,
and C70; total production volume 330,000 to 450,000 vehicles per year.
This Volcano technology is also used by Jaguar, LandRover, Aston Martin,
Mazda, and the Chinese automotive company SAIC. It is used by the world's
leading automotive suppliers, including Bosch and Visteon. It is also used
A computer program, CASTEP, has been developed to use quantum mechanics
to calculate the structure and properties of materials. The code is
distributed commercially via Accelrys Inc. with sales, for example, in the
automotive, electronics and pharmaceutical industries in excess of £1m per
year since 1998, accelerating to over £2.5m per year recently and total
sales (late 2012) exceeding $30m. Commercial applications include
designing new battery materials and electrodes to improve the performance
of electric cars (Toyota), integrating organic electronic materials for
light-weight flexible displays (Sony), and developing new catalysts for
hydrogen-powered fuel cells (Johnson-Matthey).
A spin-out company, Contemplate Ltd, is using advanced static analysis
technology in global top-ten
investment banks and other clients to discover previously undetected
defects in enterprise-scale
business-critical multi-threaded Java codebases. The impact is in terms of
delivered to Contemplate's clients by this technology and in terms of the
formation and growth of
Contemplate as an employer and a successful business.
The impact of the research is evident in two areas of software engineering practice connected
through software fault-proneness: (i) improper use of `design patterns', recognised reusable
templates for how to design code; and (ii) the real benefits of `refactoring', a technique whereby
code is intentionally changed by a developer to improve its efficiency and/or make it easier to read.
Application of the research findings has led to significant impacts on software development at
BancTec Ltd., a medium-sized, international IT company which, as a result, has changed its
practices, challenging established approaches in industrial IT. The research has had, and
continues to have, direct and sustained impact at BancTec through changed commercial practice
and raised awareness of internal standards; this has led to increased training of developers and
rollout of new internal software development standards in the UK and India, and as a template
world-wide for 2,000 employees in 50 countries.
The High Performance Computing (HPC) application code HELIUM, developed
at Queen's University Belfast to assist the development of attosecond
technology, has impacted on the provision of public services through
guiding procurement and acceptance testing of the high-performance
computer facility HECToR. This facility was funded by UK Government with a
total expenditure of £113M during 2007 - 2013. The HELIUM code was used
for procurement and acceptance testing for the initial HECToR service in
2007 (Phase 1, 11k cores), and its upgrades in 2009 (Phase 2a, 22k cores),
2010 (Phase 2b, 44k cores) and 2011 (Phase 3, 90k cores). The HELIUM code
was particularly invaluable in demonstrating that the Phase 2b and Phase 3
systems perform correctly at pre-agreed performance levels, since this
code can be adapted to run for several hours over >80k cores.
Embedded software in the transportation sector (railway, automotive and
avionics) needs to meet
high reliability requirements because errors may have severe consequences.
Research since 2008
in the UoA has developed effective reasoning technology to provide
assurance that key error types
are eliminated from embedded software, and has created novel algorithms to
prove its integrity.
Major players such as [text removed for publication] GM and Airbus have
developed in the UoA to verify the absence of errors. A particular
advantage of this technology is
its ability to reason about floating-point arithmetic, meaning that a much
wider class of properties
can be verified. The technology is widely distributed via third party
operating systems and tool-sets.
CASTEP is a parameter-free and predictive quantum mechanical atomistic
developed by Professor Payne in the Department of Physics at the
University of Cambridge.
CASTEP has been sold commercially by Accelrys since 1995, with more than
customers using the package. As part of Accelrys' Materials Studio, it can
be used by non-experts
to determine a wide range of physical and chemical properties of
materials. Companies can thus
perform `virtual experiments' using CASTEP. As quantum mechanical
simulations can be cheaper
and more flexible than experiments, CASTEP invariably reduces costs and